18th September 2020
We are still in our little flotilla of 4 boats – Imagine with Lori and Paul, Lostura with Freddie and Birgul and Adventurous with David and Jaynee. It was decided it was time to move on again to 22 Fathoms Bay. It was Friday so we needed to move relatively early to find a spot for all of us. It was only a short sail of 6-8 nm. Once we where safely tied up stern to we had some lunch and soon the Migros supermarket ship came into the bay.
Migros is a big supermarket chain in Turkey and they have a big boat that is well stocked that you can drive up to in your dinghy to stock up on groceries. We where so impressed with the selection of goods they have on board for not that much more money than in the normal supermarkets. A couple of men help people in and out of the dinghies and the boat just floats around until everyone is done and they move onto the next bay. It was the first time we had seen it, so felt like a big adventure to go onto a supermarket ship. Its such a good service, as we are now in the Gocek Wilderness Park, which is a National Park with not many facilities apart from the odd overpriced restaurant in some of the bays.
The evenings and mornings are now a bit cooler and the nights come early, we are really not ready for autumn yet and luckily we still spend our days swimming and walking around in our swimming gear all day. The next day we went for a hike over the hills to see Hamam Bay or Cleopatra Bay. Some of our flotilla had already been there and we where so excited to go. Its also great for Lucy if there is a chance for her to have a long walk and explore.
The hills here in Turkey are quite green and scattered with pines and native shrubs that grow in very little top soil. The paths are strewn with pine needles and the views from the hills over the bays with the boats and the turquoise water are breathtaking.
Once we reached the ruins of Cleopatra’s bath we couldn’t believe our eyes. We could swim through the ruins in the beautiful water. Even Lucy joined in swimming her way around the ruins. They are still so well preserved despite a lot of tourists like us swimming and clambering all over them. The sheer history just sitting right there in the water is unimaginable.
No one knows if its just a myth that Cleopatra was bathing here. It is said that friends built a roman bath for her there and that she visited twice, once on her honeymoon with Marc Anthony around 40 BC. It is also said that at the time there was warm mineral rich water flowing into the baths from a nearby crater lake and it is said that to this day one can on a calm morning see a little movement in the sand of the warm water bubbling in. Others claim the ruins where just a monastery. But to imagine Cleopatra swam where we swam is so much more interesting – we will stick with that for now.
We all decided to walk on to the nearby restaurant, which seemed to be also a holidaying place and was super flash and super pricey. The toilets where pure luxury with cotton face cloths, golden taps and full length mirrors. We all had a drink and a little black puppy joined us. We asked one of the waiters if the puppy belonged to the restaurant and they said yes. After a good break we made our way back to the boats.
We noticed porcupine spines laying on the ground by a nearby hole in ground and heard noises out of a hole. I didn’t realise there where porcupines in Turkey in the wild.
We also met a mama goat with her babes. Lucy approached them bravely, but the mama goat stared her down and Lucy retreated immediately to safety.
On our way back Freddie noticed that there where 2 men baking fresh bread in a shed by the beach, so Tim decided to go back in the morning to get some and perhaps take photos and film.
Once back at the boats we all had swims to cool off, there was more crochet and ice cream boats and dinner and Lucy collapsed happily on one of the seats. There are many boats coming by all day long with bread, snacks, ice creams, ice cubes etc. Its quite fun to buy an ice cream off your boat.
The next couple of days where spend lazing around and enjoying the cool, clear water. We had swims, paddle boards, Luca worked on his school project, Nina and I crochet like there was no tomorrow, we had coffee and cake with the other cruisers and the men had a go at repairing Freddie’s mast light.
One of Tim’s highlights was connecting with the bakers family in the bay. He went out twice early in the morning to film them making their bread in the little shed with the woodfired ovens. They then sell the bread from their old small boat. They make 150 to 200 loafs per day in the main season. It was the best bread we had eaten. When Tim brought it back to the boat it was still warm and it tasted almost like ciabatta with soft, fluffy, chewy insides and a crusty, crunchy outside layer.
We where so sad to leave that bay and the bread behind. On Tuesday 22nd September we decided to move on to Tomb Bay. We had already seen the beautifully carved tombs on the way in the cliffs of the mountains and heard so many stories about the beautiful bay. We again rafted up with our friends stern to after a short motor and sail. It is always a bit of excitement to get everyone safely tucked in with the secured anchor, stern lines lines and fenders between the boats etc.
We had swims and snorkels around the bay, the kids checked out the menus of the 2 restaurants, which where again out of our budget. There was a rope swing that the kids and Tim checked out. Nina and I finished our project to crochet facecloths for all the girls in the fleet (that was me) and Nina made little crochet pouches for them all. Nina delivered them all and Lori baked fresh chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream for all of us – such a treat and so yum!
The next day we decided to all walk to up to the tombs in the hills. Again a beautiful hike. The paths are rocky and we found again wild thyme, lots of local shrubs, pine and carob trees. Lucy was again thrilled to get another long walk with all her friends and a few swims and dips in between. Its pure dog heaven. I don’t think there would be many dogs around that swam in Cleopatra’s baths and walked through ancient tombs, stood eye to eye with wild mountain goats and swam in those turquoise waters on a daily basis.
The tombs are said to be Carian and Lycian rock tombs. There are Ionic, temple, house and pigeon hole tombs. The Lycian ancient people believed the winged spirits would carry the souls of their dead to afterlife, which is why they built the tombs of the respected members of society up high in the cliffs on the hills. In the tombs with the dead they would also place offerings, like tear collection bottles, terra cotta statues, the dead would wear all their jewelry and the family would place coins in the mouths of the dead to pay Charon. Sometimes the tombs can be one, two or even 3 stories high. Unfortunately looters would get the offerings from the tombs and there are inscriptions on the tombs warning off looters. There are also tombs in townships from the Lycians, but here in Tomb Bay we saw a set of 3 big tombs together, another 2 big separate ones and high up on the hill alot of pigeonhole like tombs that we could not walk to.
It feels so special to explore those ancient sites and often I feel like a an intruder, especially around the tombs, who where obviously once sacred sites for the dead. I am so glad our children are able to witness and see this history and hope they will remember those experiences going forward.
Nina’s toe is still healing. The scar is still quite big, but it seems to be healing well. She had to be pretty much stationary for the 10 days while the stitches where in and its getting more and more difficult to get her to be mindful of the scar, as all she wants to do is swim and romp around like everyone else. She has done so well in this heat. But it has been such a deep cut I am worried it gets knocked or stressed too much.
The afternoon was spend with me writing blogs, Tim processing his footage, making some water, having the generator going to make some water, to charge the laptops. The kids went with Freddie and Birgul to to the Carrefour Supermarket boat to get some fruit, chicken and ice cubes and soon its time for dinner prep again, but first a bit more crochet and relaxing.